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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Site's traffic soars after Sink TV shot



Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink's brief turn on a Dateline NBC segment Monday was successful beyond the agency's expectations. She appeared as part of a story called "You Might Be Rich!" on efforts to return millions of dollars worth of unclaimed property to its rightful owners, including a stray Purple Heart that belongs to a Vietnam veteran living in Ocala.

The segment ran Monday night. By Tuesday, Sink's state Bureau of Unclaimed Property web site, with a searchable database of unclaimed items, was getting so much traffic (45,781 unique visitors in a day) that it crashed for an hour, CFO spokesman Kevin Cate said. The site is back up, with a note that attributes heavy traffic to the Dateline NBC segment. Is the heavy traffic the result of TV exposure? Or perhaps another reflection of how hard-pressed people are these days?

Sink's office coordinated interviews with Florida's NBC affiliates to draw attention to billions of dollars in cash, stocks, bonds, jewelry and other property sitting unclaimed in bank safety deposit boxes. The CFO's memo to network affiliates in Florida included video of a state vault filled with unclaimed items at an undisclosed Tallahassee location.

Following an exhaustive search for property owners, the state will auction more than 500,000 unclaimed items at a major auction Aug. 2 at Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay. Since 1961, Florida has received $2.7-billion in unclaimed property.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:29am]


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